SHAUN REAY left Darlington this week – but the door has been left open for him to return from Newton Aycliffe.

Manager Martin Gray released the out-of-favour striker on Wednesday and he made his Aycliffe debut the same day, coming on as a late sub against Penrith.

The manager said: “Shaun’s gone there to get some games and we’ve got an agreement in place that, if we need to, we can bring him back at the drop of a hat.

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“It was of benefit to us to let him go so that he can play a few games, but he’s not out of the picture here for sure.”

Reay had scored 11 goals for Quakers, three of them penalties, but he dropped down the pecking order at Heritage Park.

In the game at Aycliffe recently, when Quakers were 2-1 down and in need of a goal, Reay was an unused sub with Gray instead sending on Jamie Clarke who was available due to Whitby’s match being postponed that day.

Reay will hope to start when Aycliffe play at home to South Shields tomorrow, while top-of-the-table Darlington host Penrith (both 3pm kick-offs).

Quakers have been buoyed by two good performances in the past week, seeing off Durham 4-0 last Saturday and then drawing 0-0 with title favourites Spennymoor Town on Wednesday evening.

Penrith’s win over Aycliffe on Wednesday was their fifth victory of the season and lifted them a place to 21st.

Supporters are reminded that Darlington’s festive fixtures do not kick-off at 3pm.

The game at Norton & Stockton Ancients on Boxing Day starts at 11am and the game with Bishop Auckland on Saturday, December 29 starts at 12pm.